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Actor/Musician

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Phantom of London
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Actor/Musician#1
Posted: 5/3/09 at 8:35am
I know from previous threads that most on here hate the concept of actor/musician productions, a lot of you have seemed to mellow on this (me included) with the superb production of Sunset Boulevard. While I prefer the full productions. I believe there is room with the amount of theatres London has, to accommodate 1 or 2 shows in the actor/musician notion.

On a previous thread mama said 'that Aspects of Love' would be workable in an A/M concept, I also said on a different thread that A Little Night Music could work in this concept, Bob agreed with me and I agreed with Mama.

Obviously a lot of shows would not work with this concept for example Hairspray, Wicked and The Lion King etc.............and neither should they, there is enough market for a full presentation.

What I would like to find out those is what other shows you think would work in A/M concept?
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luke-h***
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re: Actor/Musician#2
Posted: 5/3/09 at 9:39am
Fiddler on the Roof would be beautiful I think.
Cabaret for definate. Maybe Godspell, only because at times I can picture Jesus with an acoustic strumming 'Save the People' and after seeing Sunsety Boulevard in this concept I continue to imagine how Evita might work like it.
Often I wonder if Spring Awakening might, this would obviously have to butcher the idea of handhelds but at times it seems like the right sort of show, considering the way the songs are used in the show. However it seems that it's been used on the ebst shows for it, except that I'd liek to see teh few I mentioned in the concept ESPECIALLY Fiddler :)
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Weez
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re: Actor/Musician#2
Posted: 5/3/09 at 9:50am
I enjoy actor-musician shows. While I sympathise with those who worry that it reduces available work for musicians, I don't just think it's a pretentious gimmick that has outstayed its welcome.

Ready for a cop-out answer? I reckon any show could be done actor-musician style. You'd need a damn fine creative team to make it *good*, but it could be done. :3
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bob8rich
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re: Actor/Musician#3
Posted: 5/3/09 at 10:04am
I agree with Weez. Any show where the piece itself is strong enough will work as actor/muso - that is a show where the book and score can stand on their own and do not need large production values to make them work. But, as Weez also rightly says, you need a great creative team to make the adaptation. That's why the recent Watermill shows have been so brilliant - Craig Revel Horwood is a fantastic director in general and in particular knows how to weave a magic spell with actor/musician casts - and Sarah Travis (a very much underestimated and unsung hero in my opinion) is a genuine genius at stripping down a score and orchestrating it so that it:
1. Works perfectly with the needs of each particular show;
2. Works perfectly within the contraints of the instruments/cast she has available;
3. Sounds absolutely beautiful.
Not every orchestrator can do this - but she definitely can.

Btw - Craig Revel Horwood wanted desperately to do Jesus Christ Superstar actor/muso at the Watermill but ALW would not release the rights - so he did Sunset instead.
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
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Mark_E
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re: Actor/Musician#4
Posted: 5/3/09 at 10:15am
I haven't seen the show, only heard the music from it but I think "Little Women" would work well as an Actor/Musician piece from what I have heard.

I think alot of William Finn pieces would work too - Falsettoland, A New Brain etc
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re: Actor/Musician#5
Posted: 5/3/09 at 12:08pm
Oh Calcutta
ladybegood
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re: Actor/Musician#6
Posted: 5/3/09 at 2:47pm
That sounds interesting, bob8rich, about Craig Revel Horwood really wanting to do "Jesus Christ Superstar". It doesn't surprise me terribly, but how do you know that? And it does make one suppose that a full size version will be revived in the not very distant future. I only hope it won't be a reality casting in 2011 after "Wizard of Oz" in 2010. It probably will be though.

But in terms of what could be thought to work in the actor/musician format, the presumptions that any such thing had to be terrible, were always silly. It was always the equivalent of condemning Les Mis for being an adaptation of a classic book because that didn't work for "Gone With The Wind". Of course it all down to the particular creative team involved. But who would really have thought in advance that "Sunset" would have worked in that context as it does. And if that worked, then theoretically, indeed, I don't see why any show with a strong book and a score couldn't be made to work too. I think it does have to be a very strong book and score though, to still stand proud when everything around is pared right back. And of course the likes of Craig Revel Horwood and Sarah Travis helps. Respect, there! Now they have shown what can be possible, I think others might follow. But they will be a hard act to follow!
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bob8rich
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re: Actor/Musician#7
Posted: 5/3/09 at 3:16pm
"That sounds interesting, bob8rich, about Craig Revel Horwood really wanting to do "Jesus Christ Superstar". It doesn't surprise me terribly, but how do you know that?"

I worked with Craig back in 2007 when he directed one of my shows and he told me about his plans to do JCS at the Watermill - but it all fell through when ALW decided he wanted to do a reality show to cast a new West End production of JCS. (Ironically that also fell through when the BBC decided that it would be unfair to do another show to cast a Lloyd Webber musical - so it was decided to do it for Cameron Mackintish's Oliver instead.)
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
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re: Actor/Musician#8
Posted: 5/3/09 at 3:37pm
Have to say that I think JCS could have worked wonderfully too! And it doesn't take a lot of imagination to imagine how fantastic it could have looked on that tiny Watermill stage with the overhanging wooden gallery and medieval look and atmosphere. It could have been made to be a bit like stepping back in time to a medieval passion play. It could have been staggering!

Not that I didn't love Sunset, and I think they are both amazing works, but I can see why JCS would have been Craig Revel Horwood's first choice.

It hasn't taken the BBC long to drop their "unfair" stance to do other ALW shows, though. It might have had something to do with ALW refusing golden handcuffs, as if monetary handcuffs could have worked in his case. But it might also have something to do with the reputed rows with Cameron Mackintosh over his disinclination to abide by the public vote. I would love to see a revival of JCS, though, just not as cast that way.
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Phantom of London
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re: Actor/Musician#9
Posted: 5/4/09 at 3:15pm
I do not agree with every show being able to be turned into Actor/musician concept, the shows I pointed out just would not work, some show need the imagination of a big stage, a/m works better in a small intermate theatre.

The Watermill production of Martin Guerre, which I guessed would of worked in an a/m concept dissapeared without a trace, does anyone have any background to why this show didn't happen?

If there is a market for a full production, then that must take preference over a/m production. Jesus Christ Superstar may be ripe still for a full production, however a a/m vewrsion of Evita, with a couple of songs done with just an acoustic guitar would be mind-blowing.
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bob8rich
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re: Actor/Musician#10
Posted: 5/4/09 at 3:28pm
Phantom, the Watermill production of Martin Guerre was not only the best actor-muso production I've ever seen, it was one of the best productions of any kind I've ever seen. There were extensive talks about a West End transfer and there were a combination of factors that eventually prevented it from happening (including debates involving Cameron Mackintosh and Boublil/Schonberg, the problem of finding a suitable theatre and - because talks went on so long - the availability of some of the cast).

The visual impact at the Watermill, plus the beautiful orchestrations and vocals of what I think is Schonberg's best ever score, gave me genuine chills. And Ben Goddard and Andrew Bevis were sensational as Arnaud and Martin.

It is such a shame that this staging did not get to the West End. Both the show and the West End deserved it.
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
Updated On: 5/4/09 at 03:28 PM
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re: Actor/Musician#11
Posted: 5/4/09 at 4:27pm
I thought I could rely on Bob to go definitive on this one for me.

I have never seen the show, but would love to see this on stage, what version of the show did they do at the Watermill was it the original London score or the West Yorkshire production?

I take it any revival of this is dead.
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re: Actor/Musician#12
Posted: 5/4/09 at 5:16pm
It was basically the score from the original London production but not exactly. "All I Know" was replaced by a male/female duet version of "Live With Somebody You Love" (the only thing in the show I did NOT agree with) and the final scene from the original production (including the song "Land Of My Fathers") was cut.
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
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hotjohn
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re: Actor/Musician#13
Posted: 5/4/09 at 5:36pm
I agree with Bob, The Watermill's "Martin Guerre" was superb and the score is Schoenberg's best (I saw "The Pirate Queen"!). The limitations of playing such a small space were used to great advantage (the very reason John Doyle started the whole actor/musician thing) to such an extent that the story was really communicated.

Incidentally, I enjoyed the original West End version at The Prince Edward Theatre, especially the dancing for which Craig Revell Horwood was assistant choreographer.
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re: Actor/Musician#14
Posted: 5/4/09 at 5:40pm
A revival of the jazz/blues musical 'Blues In The Night' is one i think would work brilliantly.